I did not see this when it came out (1999), partly because the trailers made it look, well, cheesy. Or maybe I should say tawdry -- the book is so charming, and the trailers all focused on action. Anyway, watching it with my daughter, I was pleased to find that it was charming indeed, and the action sequences were well-paced and appropriate for the story. It is vastly different from the book, but the fact that it retained its charm for all the differences is a testament to the team that worked on it.
How nice to see Jeffery Jones play a nice guy, and not a villain, for once! I did wonder, though -- when you go through all the trouble to make a charming kids movie, why would you make the characters say "damn" and "hell" so much?